Riding - Middle Fork Scenery - Exploring
This is a super late summer traveling trip. This trip covers almost 70 miles of spectacular wilderness and gives the adventurer an amazing tour through the most remote country we have out this way. We make a large loop - starting at the Middle Fork Teton trailhead west of our Choteau HQ. Over the course of the next 7 days we head northwest into the Sun River, cross the continental divide twice, and come out due north of our beginning point at our Swift Dam trail head on Birch Creek.
Day 1: Early morning start as we head into the mountains at the Middle Fork of the Teton trailhead. Our destination this day is Round Park on the Sun River. Enroute we'll cross Route Creek Pass (elev 7200ft). Riding distance is 18 miles.
Day 2: We pack up and head over Sun River Pass to Clack Creek on the Middle Fork Flathead River. Sun River Pass is a mild pass with nominal elevation gain. The ride down the Flathead (or Big River) is particularly scenic as we make our way to Gooseberry Cabin and Clack Creek. Riding distance 14 miles.
Day 3: A well earned rest day where we don't move camp but we can explore the Clack Creek Meadows or take a day ride up to the amazing Trilobyte Range and lakes situated in glacial cirques at their base.
Day 4: This is the second lay over day. If we have fishermen we will take this day to ride down to the Middle Fork for some fishing. We may also take a day ride up Clack Creek.
Day 5: We move camp and ride up Strawberry Creek through Gateway Gorge. An amazing day riding day through the scattered timber along Strawberry Creek and then the stunning vistas as we approach Gateway Gorge. We camp this night just above the Gorge near Sabido Cabin, which was originally a cowboy line-shack for herders at the turn of the 20th century. Riding distance is 12 miles.
Day 6: We do not travel this day and instead explore the Big River Meadows area. We have several great day rides from this camp, as well as hiking with rewarding vistas of the surrounding Middle Fork country.
Day 7: Last day we pack up and head out through Big River Meadows and Gateway Pass (continental divide) and the gentle grade down the South Fork Birch Creek. Our day ends as we come around the south side of Swift Reservoir and then drop to our private trailhead just below Swift Dam. This is a beautiful ride with open country and wide open scenery. Riding distance is 18 miles.
The Big River, while traveling more than our other trips, has a number of options on the lay over days. Day rides up to Trilobyte Lakes, Dean Lake, Big River Meadows, and several other scenic and historic points of interest avail themselves to us. Also, the fishing on the Middle Fork of the Flathead is excellent this time of year and should not be passed up by the fishermen. This is an amazing trip for hiking as well, as there are some great vistas available directly from most camps.
Of particular interest, due to the absolute remote nature of the Bob Marshall, there is zero light polution, and near perfectly clear skies. The deep evening star gazing is intensely beautful, where you can see brilliantly our evening constellations, the Milky Way galaxy, and numerous shooting stars. This is a unique and rare opportunity to see our night time sky in a way you've not seen it before. The days are long out here, so plan on staying up late as sunset is about 10pm.
As this is a 7 day travel trip, you'll want to bring along sufficient gear for an extended time in the mountains. Our recommended camping gear list is downloadable from the link below. As a summary however, you'll want to keep in mind the following specifics about this trip. There are usually 4 travel days and 3 lay over days (non-traveling). There is at most 2 days of fishing, and we can provide specific days for your fishing license. The things that are important and make your trip most comfortable are layered clothing appropriate for late summer. It can get hot during the day, but the nights will be surprising cool. We can also get a thunderstorm on any given day, so you'll need good rain gear that you can wear riding or hiking. Comforable hiking/riding shoes are a must, and a good assortment of hiking socks varying from light to medium weight. Also, you may consider chaps for riding, or silk under your jeans as we do have some ground to cover on horseback. This will mitigate chafing.